The Blazers are set up to undergo a significant overhaul of the roster, after a disappointing season that ended with a first round loss in the playoffs to the Grizzlies in what was a short five-game series.
Nicolas Batum has been traded, and LaMarcus Aldridge is expected to be gone very soon in free agency — and that’s only the beginning.
But the team is locking up Damian Lillard for the foreseeable future.
ESPN sources say Portland Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard are nearing agreement on a five-year max extension with in excess of $120 million
This is a wise move by the Blazers, and Lillard is absolutely worthy of the investment. But it’s worth noting that if Lillard was willing to accept the extension at this time, then the team really had no other choice.
There’s a strong chance that all four members of the lineup that started the bulk of the games in Portland last season alongside Lillard won’t be back. In addition to Aldridge and Batum, Robin Lopez and Wes Matthews are both unrestricted free agents who could command significant interest from other teams. Same goes for Arron Afflalo, who was a late-season pickup and started 19 games.
You’re looking at a roster right now that features Noah Vonleh, C.J. McCollum, Mason Plumlee, and not much else. Signing Lillard for the maximum number of years allowed ensures at least one star is in place, but it may be a while before we see others join him in what’s looking more and more like a rebuilding situation.